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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires II. For the unit in other games of the series, see Fire Ship.

Spews fire at other ships. Good at sinking Galleys.
Age of Empires II description

The Fire Ship is a naval vessel in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Dock once the Castle Age is reached. It is a ship with a "flamethrower" mounted on the bow, and has an attack bonus against other ships. It must come in very close to enemy ships in order to attack, upon which is spews fire at very fast rate - about 4 times per second. Fire Galleys are automatically upgraded from Fire Ships when the War Galley upgrade is researched.

Fire Ships are available to all civilizations except for the Vikings.


Fire ships are good counters to most ships and deal damage quickly. They may even be employed in shallows against ground troops to good effect. However, Demolition Ships are excellent counters to Fire Ships due to the close proximity with which a Fire Ship has to attack. Korean Turtle Ships are also threats to Fire Ships due to their low range. Fire Ships have a very rapid attack speed but a low attack per "flame", they also have a substantial anti-ship armor allowing it to easily to close the distance between other ships and tear into enemy ships while under fire. Despite its extremely effective attack and high armor, the Castle Age Fire Ship is slower than a War Galley. With proper micromanagement, Galleys can use hit-and-run tactics against them. The Fast Fire Ship upgrade will not only provide a boost to attack and hit points, but also allow them to catch up to Galleons.

Fire Ships are mostly used as a support unit for other naval vessels as the Fire Ships can rapidly sink masses of Galleons, Cannon Galleons, and other Fire Ships. Fire Ships are a great escort for Transport Ships along with Galleons.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Transport Ships, Fishing Ships, buildings in the shoreline, melee units in the shallows, War Galleys, Cannon Galleons
Weak vs. Demolition Ships, Turtle Ships, Longboats, towers, Castles, ranged siege units on the shoreline
Range CastleAgeUnique.png Greek Fire (+1, Byzantines only)
Armor CareeningDE.png Careening (+0/+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Carrack (+1/+1, Portuguese only)
Speed DryDockDE.png Dry Dock (+15%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (+54%)
Train cost ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (-20% wood)
Upgrades FastFireShipDE.png Fast Fire Ship

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Fire Ships are created 11% faster.
  • Berbers: Fire Ships move 10% faster.
  • Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
  • Byzantines: Fire Ships fire 25% faster.
  • Celts: Fire Ships can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Fire Ships are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Italians: Researching Careening, Dry Dock, and Shipwright is 33% cheaper. Upgrading to Galleon is 33% cheaper.
  • Persians: Fire Ships are created 15%/20% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age. Careening is researched 15%/20% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age. The upgrade to the Fast Fire Ship and Dry Dock are researched 20% faster.
  • Portuguese: Fire Ships have +10% HP and cost -20% gold. Upgrades that benefit Fire Ships are researched 30% faster.
  • Tatars: Fire Ships deal +25% bonus damage from elevations.
  • Koreans: Fire Ships cost -20% wood.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Fire Ships have 100 HP.
  • Fire Ships have 6 pierce armor and 4 armor against anti-ship attacks.
  • Shipwright reduces the wood cost by 20%.

The Conquerors[]

  • Fire Ships have 6 pierce armor and 5 armor against anti-ship attacks.
  • With patch 1.0b, Shipwright also decreases train time by 35%.
  • Heresy introduced.

The Forgotten[]

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Fire Ships have 7 pierce armor and 6 armor against anti-ship attacks.
  • Fire Galley introduced.
  • With patch 4.8, Fire Ships are affected by Ballistics.
  • Portuguese: Fire Ships cost -15% gold.

The Rise of Rajas[]

  • Fire Ships have 6 pierce armor again.

Definitive Edition[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, siege units and ships are now resistant to armor-ignoring attacks similarly to buildings.


  • The Fire Ship is based on the Byzantine Dromon galleys and their Greek fire weapon. However, it is incorrectly depicted without oars.
  • The Fire Ships are the only units in the game without an integer range.
  • The Fire Ship and the Fast Fire Ship are the only units in the game to deal both melee and pierce damage.
  • Fire Ships deal bonus damage against the cheat unit Saboteur (since The Conquerors) because it is in the same unit class as ships.


The Byzantines alone in the West carried forward the ancient traditions of ship building into the Middle Ages. Their improvement over the trireme was the fire ship, a narrow and fast warship powered by both oars and lateen sails. The fighting power of these ships was provided partly by marines, archers, and catapults, but the secret weapon of the Byzantine navy was Greek fire. This extremely volatile mixture was squirted out of hoses from the bow of the fire ship and ignited on contact with air. Fire was a devastating weapon against wooden ships and the enemies of the Byzantines could not stand up to fire ships spraying Greek fire. Other civilizations acquired the secret of Greek fire at times, but it was so closely guarded and dangerous to use that it is lost today.